Evaluation of growth, wool production and reproduction traits of Muzaffarnagari sheeps
Muzaffarnagari, the heaviest breed among 43 Indian sheep breeds, is originally distributed in and around Muzaffarnagar district of western Uttar Pradesh and also in some parts of Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi states. Muzaffarnagari is a mutton type breed because the wool production is low and wool quality is very course, not suitable for carpet manufacture. To study the impact of various factors on production and reproduction traits, the data on 1080 Muzaffarnagari lambs born under Network Project on Sheep Improvement during years 2011-15 at ICAR-Central Institute for Research on Goats, Makhdoom, Farah, Mathura (UP) were recorded for growth traits i.e. body weights at birth, 3, 6, 9 and 12 month age, wool production traits viz. greasy fleece yields of lambs in first & second six monthly clips and reproduction traits viz. tupping, lambing on available basis, lambing on bred basis, twinning and replacement rate of ewes. The overall least squares means for body weights at birth, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months age were 3.55±0.02, 16.02±0.12, 24.46±0.18, 29.18±0.19 and 33.52±0.19 kg, respectively and average daily gains (ADGs) during 0–3, 3-6, 6-12 and 3-12 months age groups were 138.56±1.27, 92.18±1.22, 63.87±0.64 and 50.89±0.86g, respectively. The overall least squares means for lambs 1st and 2nd six monthly clips 533.23±5.47 and 544.43±5.94g, respectively. The effect of sex, year of lambing, parity and type of birth of lambs had highly significant (P<0.01) influence on all growth and wool production traits except non significant effect of year on birth weight, parity on 3-6, 6-12 and 3-12 months ADG, type of birth on 3-6 month ADG, sex on lambs first clip and type of bith on lambs second clip. On comparison, male lambs were found superior than female lambs for all body weights and fleece yields. During year 2013, all the body weights and greasy fleece yields were recorded to be highest. Parity of ewes did not show any definite trend for growth traits while type of birth indicated that lambs born as single gained heavier weights at all growth stages and produced heavier clips than multiple born lambs. Tupping, lambing on available basis, lambing on bred basis, twinning and replacement rate ranges from 86.9-100.0, 74.3-91.0, 83.2-92.5, 10.9-20.3 and 24.5-33.2%, respectively. This study revealed that 0-3 month lambs growth is very crucial which needs proper management, feeding and health care and selection of breeding rams based on their six month body weight was effective for genetic improvement of Muzaffarnagari sheep for growth and reproduction traits.